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ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer to Resign

May 28 2014, 2:29am CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

ESPN Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer to Resign
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ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer is set to resign from the sports network next week, per multiple reports.

ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer is set to resign next week. 

The Los Angeles Times' Joe Flint reported on May 27 that Bodenheimer is stepping down after 33 years with ESPN: 

"George Bodenheimer, who joined ESPN in 1981 as a driver in the mailroom and rose to the top of the cable sports giant, is exiting the company at the end of the month. 

"Executive chairman of ESPN's board, Bodenheimer told staff Tuesday that this would be his final week. ESPN is a unit of Walt Disney Co. 

"Bodenheimer had stepped back from overseeing the day-to-day operations of ESPN in 2012 when John Skipper became president and chief executive. 

"'It is impossible to completely capture the impact George has had on our company and on so many of us during his remarkable 33 years with ESPN,' Skipper said in a staff memo.

"Bodenheimer joined ESPN just two years after the sports channel launched. He rose up on the business side and played a key role in building ESPN from a single channel to a juggernaut with scores of channels around the globe.

"A low-key executive, Bodenheimer didn't want an official press release noting his departure. Instead ESPN put together a page about him on one of its websites.

"In his farewell memo, Bodenheimer talked more about the people he's worked with than himself. 

"'I have been proud to represent the men and women of ESPN. Every day I was asked questions about the future, and my favorite answer was,'ESPN has the best employees in the business. They know what the mission of the company is, and together we will figure it out...I have great faith that it will always be true.'"

BroadcastingCable.com's Tim Baysinger notes Bodenheimer is ESPN's longest-tenured president, having served in that capacity from 1998 to 2011. 

Baysinger then chronicles Bodenheimer's rise from mailroom driver to ESPN president.

"Bodenheimer has been with ESPN for nearly its entire history, joining as a mailroom driver in 1981, just 16 months after the network launched. Prior to becoming president in 1998 -- a role he would assume from his longtime mentor and B&C Hall of Famer Steve Bornstein -- Bodenheimer was responsible for affiliate sales, advertising sales, marketing and research for all of ESPN's domestic networks.

"ESPN experienced perhaps its larges expansion during Bodenheimer's tenure as president. In that time, the company added four domestic TV networks and 28 international channels, saw ESPN and ESPN2 both reach nearly 100 million households and increase its digital presence from one website to 18.

"Bodenheimer was instrumental in acquiring long-term multiplatform rights -- rather than shorter-term TV-only deals, which had been the norm. Under his tenure, ESPN cut deals with major pro leagues such as the NBA, the NFL (including moving Monday Night Football from ABC to ESPN), MLB, as well as major college conferences including the SEC, Pac 12, ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 and the Bowl Championship Series.

"The campus in ESPN's home base of Bristol, Conn. also increased to 116 acres (from 39), 18 buildings (from eight) and 1.3 million square feet (from 260,000). The network is readying a move to its new Digital Center 2 next month."  

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